A man who murdered his 17-year-old daughter and hid her body after she made sexual abuse allegations against him has been sentenced to life in prison.
Scott Walker was sentenced after being found guilty of killing Bernadette Walker despite her body never being found, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
Bernadette’s last confirmed sighting alive was when Walker picked her up from his parents’ house in Werrington, Peterborough on Saturday, July 18, 2020.
Walker, who is not the biological father of Bernadette but was known as “dad” to her, was accused of sexually assaulting her the previous day, so she went to his parents’ house.
When he came to pick up Bernadette, Walker did not take the teenager back to their home at Century Square in Millfield, and his mobile phone activated cell sites in the Dogsthorpe and Gunthorpe areas – places in the opposite direction to their house.
Just before 11.30am the phone disconnected from the network and wasn’t reconnected until around 1pm, when Walker had a nine-minute phone call with Bernadette’s mother Sarah.
A series of trails of deceit were then left by Walker and his former partner Sarah, as they fabricated the idea of Bernadette still being alive, suggesting she had actually just run away from home.
Her social media accounts had their passwords changed and messages were sent to friends and family to make it look as though she was alive, something which Sarah later admitted to doing.
In the 48 hours after this, Walker and Sarah made multiple trips to a lock-up garage owned by his parents in Walton, as well as to Cowbit, Lincolnshire in the dead of night.
Bernadette’s rucksack had been found inside the Walton lock-up, with a diary that read: “Told my mum about my dad and the abuse. She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told the police. What kind of parent wouldn’t believe their daughter?”
Three days after Bernadette had ‘gone missing’, her mother Sarah called 101 for advice and to file an official missing person report, despite being fully aware of the consequences surrounding her disappearance.
Sexual abuse allegations were passed on to police by a social worker on July 22, four days after Bernadette was last seen, and Walker was arrested for the allegations on September 10. A murder enquiry was launched the day after.
Scott Walker was found guilty of murder and two counts of perverting the course of justice, relating to providing false information to police and sending messages from Bernadette’s phone.
Sarah Walker was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice for the same conditions as Scott Walker, though it was just the latter who was given the murder charge.
Scott Walker has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 32 years, while Sarah will serve six years in prison, of which she must serve at least half before being considered for parole.
Bernadette Walker’s body has never been found, and despite detectives visiting Walker in prison to try to speak to him, he has refused to give any information.
Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, said: “I would like to thank our prosecution team who presented our case exceptionally well, enabling us to get justice for Bea after what has been such tragic circumstances.
“I still hope we may get the answers we need to be able to find her and lay her to rest. If anyone has any information about this investigation which may help us find Bea, please get in touch.
“We may never know the truth about what Scott did and why, but we do know Bea had made allegations of abuse against him.
“My plea to anyone who may have been subjected to abuse is to speak to us. Bea thought she could confide in her own mother, who should have been able to protect her, but instead she met a tragic end.”